KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – I have written a couple of stories about the Halifax mother forced out of her home because she couldn’t afford the rent increase. First I wrote about the monthly rent increase from $750 to $1000, then a quick update, and then a story about her mean-spirited family. This most recent story illustrates how her family believes in welfare stigma
She now has found a temporary place, but it’s an example of how sometimes people on income assistance have to go outside of their comfort zone in order to have an affordable place.
By the way, she used to get $895 a month in income assistance. Now under this new standard household rate she is getting $913 a month. However you can say she gained on one end, but lost on the other end as she lost her $35 telephone allowance.
Anyway, since the last story got posted on Oct.31st, 2019 frustrations of her finding a new place to live that is a affordable got to a point where she ended up having no choice but to accept an offer from a new male friend she has made last fall for her and her kids to move in with him as roommates.
This friend of hers is a single dad who has full custody of his daughter who happens to be the same age as her youngest daughter. They got to know each other because both of their daughters go to swimming lessons together.
She went out of her comfort zone because moving with a guy was something she did not want and felt uncomfortable with.
She said to me, “but Kendall, when I keep looking, looking and looking for an affordable place to live, and not find anything, what can I do? I cannot find anything affordable and my family has been stigmatizing me.”
The good news is that the roommate situation is going well so far and he is respecting all boundaries and respects that she is not interested in a romantic relationship with him. Also it turns out that his daughter and her daughter are friends who play well together.
He lives in a four bedroom apartment where rent is $1400 total, so they pay $700 each for rent and $53 each on the power bill. They pay $32.00 each for phone and internet.
The reason that Community Services gave her for suspending her telephone allowance is because they put her down for having access to his phone. So after paying her share of rent, power, phone and internet, she has roughly $130 a month left over from her allowance plus what she gets for child support for her and her kids to live on.
She told me that her plan is to only keep this arrangement as long as her male roommate continues to respect boundaries, until she either gets accepted into Metro Housing or if she can return to work.
She said to me “Kendall if I did not move in with him, then my kids and I would likely be homeless now”
Meanwhile, she has been in conversations with her doctor about wanting to go back to work. She has an appointment coming up with an employment counsellor who is going to help her reach that goal. This might include going to community college to take training for a new job.
Her learning disabilities and having OCD would make going back to university too stressful for her.
Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
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